Gemma Burgess


In Ethiopia a woman’s identity is linked to her family and the prescribed gender role as a mother and home-maker, yet throughout Ethiopia’s history there are examples of women who have roles that extend beyond the home and family into public, political life. This paper briefly describes this dominant gender identity of Ethiopian women before charting the changes to Ethiopian politics and women’s place within them. It discusses how the shift to democratic politics opened new spaces for women’s civil society activism. However, more recent political moves towards greater repression of civil society have closed the space for women’s public, political activism, leaving the future of women’s public role in question.

Note on the Author

Gemma Burgess, Senior Research Associate Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research Department of Land Economy University of Cambridge